February 7, 2010

The experiment -- done, for now

Comics of Rhodey will officially be no more as of this post. I had thought I could maintain two separate blogs -- one for politics, and one for comics and entertainment -- but I just freakin' don't have the time! Thus, any future comics-related posts will be made at the place that started it all, The Colossus of Rhodey. Speaking of which, I have a couple recent comics posts up there right now!

Thanks to everyone for reading and I hope you'll continue to check us out over at Colossus.

October 16, 2009

R.I.P. George Tuska

I recently saw this sad news via Bob Layton's Facebook post. Iron Man artistic legend George Tuska has passed away. To say I loved George's Iron Man would be an understatement. He was a stalwart -- his Iron Man was tough, manly and kick-ass. May you rest in peace, my friend.

August 30, 2009

Name Five Creators and a Signature Stylization

I saw the topic while perusing the 'net for some artist information. Here's my five:

1. Sal Buscema -- Character mouths agape with spittle between the teeth:

2. George Tuska -- Cheesy and overly cartoonish side character faces:

3. Jack Kirby -- The "Kirby Krackle":

4. Gil Kane -- All-out punch knocking an opponent over backwards:

5. Dave Cockrum -- Buccaneer boots:

August 23, 2009

Why? I ask again, WHY??

I ran across a chuckle-inducing ad at the end of She-Hulk (vol. 1) #1 the other day while perusing some new additions to my collection. The toy company Corgi once came out with a line of ... super hero cars (vehicles), and some simply defy, well, logic.

Now take a gander at the lower left-hand corner. Why would Superman need a van?? Why would Captain Marvel need a race car?? ('Tho, admittedly, it's a lot cooler than a freakin' van!) And even if Supes did need a van, why would he advertise himself on it? Isn't that like painting some "Hey Lex Luthor! Please zap me with a red sun ray right here!" graffiti? And as for that Man of Steel flying vehi-, er, contraption, Corgi actually produced that based on an appearance of it in a real comic issue!

But what's worse are the villain vehicles. I mean advertising yourself when you're a homicidal maniac isn't exactly the pinnacle of intellectualism! Here we see the Dark Knight baddies Joker and Penguin cars:

Hey Penguin: Exactly what is the purpose of that umbrella? I mean, wouldn't that kinda obstruct the view of your getaway -- not to mention cause a substantial air drag on your getaway speed?

This sort of villain ... inanity reminds me of one of the most horrible movies I ever attempted to watch: "Super Dragon's Dynamo." This wretched Taiwanese flick featured a shady organization called the "International Criminals Group" (I.C.G.). As one of my good buddies remarked while reading its VHS box, "Huh? Doesn't that name kinda give it away?"

August 22, 2009

Adiós to my favorite comics blog

Mark Engblom, proprietor of Comic Coverage, is calling it quits. I'm totally bummed out by this, but I completely understand Mark's reasons.

I personally want to thank Mark for the most creative, most informative, and FUNNIEST comics site I've ever come across. Take care, mi amigo.

Comic creator aims to counter jihadist role models ...

... but then again, he is a Hamas supporter and has said “There is no escaping the everyday reality of the intifada.” How nice.

They are fighting for truth, justice and the Islamic way and are heading for your living room — prepare to say salaam to the world’s first Muslim superheroes.

The 99, a Sharia-compliant version of the X-Men ... has taken the Arab world by storm and has its sights set on the West.

The franchise, which was created as a cartoon strip three years ago to counter the effects of jihadist agitprop on Muslim minds, is poised to make its debut on British television this year. An animated series is being produced by Endemol, the Dutch company that made Big Brother internationally ubiquitous. Its mission: to instill old-fashioned Islamic values in Christian, Jewish and atheist children.

The story follows a group of preternaturally gifted Muslims: The 99, each with a superpower that mirrors one of the 99 attributes of Allah.

[Creator Dr.] Naif al-Mutawa said that the idea came to him while he was riding in a black cab in London from Edgware Road to Harrods, but its seed was sown years before when he worked at the survivors of political torture unit in Bellevue Hospital, New York. Many of the young men he treated were Iraqis who had fled after being tortured under Saddam Hussein’s regime.

“It hit me that the stories I was hearing were from men who grew up believing that their leader, Saddam, was a hero, a role model — only to one day be tortured by him,” Dr al-Mutawa said. “I decided the Arab world needed better role models.”

Better role models? You mean ... like freakin' Hamas??
The book’s creator, a Hamas supporter who had sold 40,000 albums and 12 million stickers in four months, brushed off accusations that he was inciting hatred, saying: “There is no escaping the everyday reality of the intifada.”
Wonder how that support coincides with this:
Despite its Islamic basis Dr al-Mutawa said that The 99 has universal appeal. He said: “It is based on attributes such as generosity and mercy. These are not things that Islam has a monopoly over.”
That's for sure. And they're not things that groups like Hamas possess period.

Avi Green over at Four Color Media Monitor has more here and here.

August 18, 2009

1970s comics ads: The Special Investigator Kit!

Via Daredevil #146 from 1977:

Now understand something: This is the ONLY COMPLETE Special Investigator Kit around. Accept no substitutes. Also:

  1. Do not question why one of the badges has "This is a Toy" printed on it.
  2. Don't ask who precisely the "Leading Authority" is who wrote the FREE booklet.
  3. Don't wonder what details of the leatherette case, "authentic" ID Card, and Badge Flasher aren't in common with those "used by private & special investigators everywhere."
  4. Don't ask "Is this really the 'Best Buy Around?'"
  5. Don't ponder "Can this get me into the police academy?"
  6. Don't wonder why this isn't available to residents of New York.

Dullard Wizard

Wizard #215 -- Marvel's 70th Anniversary Issue -- contains its share of whoppers, and shows its continued brown-nosing of Marvel in general. Probably the biggest knee-slapper in its seventy "Marvelous Moments" is #53: "Heroes Reborn." I'm glad that at least this moment found its way pretty far down on the list, yet, honestly, let's be real -- it does deserve to be there. But check out the narrative:

"The art was, unsurprisingly, amazing"???? WTF are they smoking? Maybe Wiz's butt-kissers oughta take a gander at this post. Or, Mark Engblom's recent retrospective centering on "HR." Look, Jim Lee's art (as usual) was pretty good on Fantastic Four, and Whilce Portacio's had its moments on Iron Man, but Rob Liefeld's Cap was flat-out horrific, and Chap Yaep's in Avengers wasn't that far behind. As Engblom says about "HR," "Despite respectable sales numbers (which the hype all but guaranteed) ..." that is pretty much it in a nutshell. Hype. Exactly what Image Comics' founding was.

Next: Poor Walt Simonson. He just can't get any respect:

Yeah. Walt Simpson. Nice editing/proofreading on such a milestone issue, eh?

Regarding these next two items, see if you can ... well hell, just check 'em out:

Doesn't it just absolutely trash the very concept of key character "deaths" to laud the demise of a person like Bucky ... then at the same time to note that such a key historic moment was ignored by a current "hot" creator -- because he brought him back? And then this same "hot" creator gets similarly lauded for offing one of the companies longest-published heroes! C'mon -- "shook the comic biz to its core"? "Mainstream media as well"?? Please. Point me to ANYONE who didn't immediately know that Steve Rogers would be back as Captain America eventually. ANYONE. And it sure is easy to "shake the mainstream media" by sending out publicity blitzes to every network and newspaper extant.

Face it: character "deaths" ceased shocking people around the resurrection of Jean Grey. It's one thing to "bring back" minor characters like Wonder Man, but when you [legitimately] shock the industry by offing a popular hero and then resuscitate him/her shortly thereafter, please. I think the final straw for me was Marvel head honcho Joe Quesada's resurrection of Iron Man mentor Ho Yinsen (his brain inside Iron Man armor, at least) and original Iron Man villain Wong Chu. (Amazingly, too, Wizard ranks Quesada's ascension to Marvel editor-in-chief as #7 on their list.)

The big upside of Wiz #215 is an article on under-rated Marvel scribe Bill Mantlo. Known as "The Fill-In King," Mantlo's contribution to the Marvel mythos is by and large unknown. But for me, I know Bill as the writer of my favorite single-issue Iron Man story of all-time: "Long Time Gone." Apparently, many fans (and Marvel) think highly of this story, too, as it was reprinted in volume 3's "monster" issue, #46. If you ever have a chance to read this story, do it.

August 10, 2009

One big thing futurists got wrong!

And that's the size of computers as time progressed.

Once again, I turn to Time Warp (apparently it is two words, not one like I had been writing) #5 and its story "The Vengeance of C-92." C-92 is a continent-sized computer (that's what the "C" stands for -- "continent") that runs -- you guessed it -- the whole continent.

Of course, today, we scoff at this erroneous prediction of massive computers. Just imagine what the intelligent folk at Popular Mechanics magazine feel like today based on their 1954 prediction of what a home computer would look like ... in 2004: UPDATE: This is an Internet hoax. Thanks to commenter Pat for pointing this out!

I don't know if you can read it, but the last line in the caption says "With teletype interface and the Fortran language, the computer will be easy to use." Wow.

One of the best-ever stories in early Iron Man issues is found in #5 -- "Frenzy in a Far-Flung Future." Tony Stark is whisked to the future to face judgment for his creation -- a massive computer named "Cerebrus" (see below) that has taken over the world and enslaved mankind!

In film, 1970's "Colossus: The Forbin Project" similarly believed that a powerful computer would need to be immense. Here's a shot of Colossus's "home," built inside a mountain:

This is not unlike "Krell," the planet-wide computer from "Forbidden Planet."

Colossus, and a similar Soviet supercomputer named "Guardian," joined together and took over the planet. But unlike "Skynet" in the "Terminator" films, Colossus did not desire to eliminate humanity. It actually wanted to learn from us, especially the concept of love. But don't be mistaken -- if we f***ed Colossus over and didn't do what it wished, it wouldn't hesitate to retaliate. When US military personnel attempts to replace the detonators on nuclear missiles with "dummies," Colossus explodes one of the nukes!

"Colossus" is an exceptional film despite its technology-guessing shortcomings. In fact, I use a modified version of the Colossus logo from the film at my politics-oriented blog!

Just consider how computer technology has really progressed from the earliest home computers that were available in the early 1980s. I recall an old magazine I discovered in my basement that displayed some of these models -- the "cheapest" of them cost around $5,000! Now, a laptop a fraction of the size of one of those units costs a fraction of that, and has a gazillion times the computing power. Oh, and Popular Mechanics? You don't need to know Fortran to operate it, either!

Next up? Quantum computers. Watch out!

August 4, 2009

The dirtiest line ever uttered in comics

Courtesy of Timewarp #5 (1980) in the short "... Until I Find A Way In Time":

Despite this vulgarity (LOL), Sheldon Mayer's yarn may be the best I've yet read in this DC sci-fi title. It's sort of a "Timecop" tale, where an unscrupulous 25th century dude plans to make himself rich back in the 19th century. It utilizes a "closed loop" time geometry; the protagonist gets rich by betting with Martian industrial diamonds. However, these diamonds contain a strain of the "Martian Flu" which proceeds to wipe out all of humanity in a few years! Our protagonist discovers this sordid fact after he jaunts sixty years up the timestream (still in the 19th century) to take advantage of his accumulated riches. Oops. He can't even jaunt back to his home 25th century because humanity is dead -- time travel will never have been invented, so his traveling device is useless! But ... if dead humanity prevents time travel from being invented, why is our protagonist still alive?? He'd never have been born!